By Ray Dunlap
One of the things that I do that is a little unique is that I account for actual games played in determining my starting lineups. Now, it’s “random,” because it is based on a dice roll before each contest, but if you missed half your team’s games in the actual NFL season, then you have a statistical probability of missing half of my APBA games.
So, I roll the dice before each game to determine not only who the starters are, but the quotas for all the skill position players as well. This works for me, and it creates some interesting “drama” as I get ready to play each game.
And, while no team is exempt from having players miss games, occasionally sitting players out can have a dramatic effect on the team’s makeup.
For example, in the second round of my playoffs, there are a number of important, highly rated players who won’t be playing. Stephon Diggs, for example, Minnesota’s best receiver, will miss the Dallas game. Randall Cobb of the Packers, likewise, will be sidelined for their game against the Seahawks. Marshal Yanda, the perennial all-pro Raven’s offensive lineman, will also sit out their next game.
But, perhaps the biggest impact of this rule will be felt by the Patriots. Tom Brady won’t be playing against Baltimore. Instead, it will be Jacoby Brissett trying to keep New England’s playoff hopes alive.
And, I had a feeling this might happen, because Brady did miss 25% of New England’s regular season games last year. So, when I put together my game quotas for this tournament, Brady has a 25% chance of missing a game, and it just so happened that, on the dice roll I made to determine the starters, it was Brissett, and not Brady, who gets the nod. And, to make matters worse, Rob Gronkowski will also miss this game for New England.
So, this will be a big test for the mighty Pats . . . especially because I use a match-up system that uses the ratings of the players on the field to determine line settings, and replacing a “5” (Brady) with a “2” is a big deal. Plus, the Ravens defense is pretty solid, so we’ll have to see if Brissett is up to the task or who else might have to step up for New England.
I have to admit that, even though Bill Belichick may not like this rule, I really do. Having to sit some of the better players occasionally really puts a premium on depth, which I think truly rewards the better teams.
Attached is a list of all of the players who will not be available to their respective teams for my Round 2 games, with the more critical players highlighted in bold print.